Andy Murray will be aiming to mix up his tactical approach when he faces Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Wednesday.
The world number nine booked his place in the last eight at Flushing Meadows by defeating France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round on Monday, and he is set to face the Serbian for the 21st time in his career.
Djokovic has won 12 of their 20 previous matches, and the top seed won their last encounter at the Miami Masters in March in two sets.
Time for change
Murray, who beat the Serbian in their last match in a Grand Slam in the Wimbledon final in 2013, is not expecting a similar match to their previous exchanges, as both are always striving to improve.
The 27-year-old Briton told the New York Times: “Obviously I practiced with him just before the tournament as well, and we know each other’s games fairly well.
“Both of us are still trying to improve things. That’s why Novak got Boris Becker (Djokovic’s coach) involved, and obviously I got Amélie Mauresmo (Murray’s coach) involved.
“It’s trying to keep improving, and it depends on the day and on the surface.
“You can’t just have the same tactics every single time you play him. There needs to be some adjustments depending on the surface and the conditions.”
The eighth seed’s win over Tsonga was his first against a top 10 player since winning Wimbledon, as back surgery and a loss of form since then have seen his world ranking drop by seven positions from second, and he was seen to have fallen away from the top level.
The big four
But the two-time Grand Slam winner has been content with reaching at least the quarter-finals of all four majors this year, and he does not care for being called part of the “big four” alongside Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
“I’m not too concerned about being part of the big four," he claimed.
“I want to try to win these events; that’s what motivates me.
“This year I’ve still performed decently in the Slams. It could have been better, but I’m still giving myself opportunities in the Slams, and getting into the latter stages.
“I just need to play my best tennis at the end of them.”
The match against Djokovic will be a repeat of the 2012 final in New York, which Murray won in five sets after an iconic tussle which lasted just short of five hours.
Comparisons have been drawn between the two throughout their careers, as they were born just a week apart, and they have faced each other in four Grand Slam finals, provoking a rivalry of sorts in Murray’s view.
“It feels like that over the last few years than I’ve played Roger and Rafa in the Slams.
“I’ve also known Rafa a long time, but “rivalry” for me would seem more closely linked to Novak.”
While he completed his most significant victory of the year against Tsonga, Murray will be second favourite going into the match against the world number one, who is aiming to win his second US Open title and his second consecutive Grand Slam, after winning his second Wimbledon title in July.
Murray is yet to reach the final of an ATP tournament since he won Wimbledon, though he does have the experience of winning his first Grand Slam title on Arthur Ashe Stadium to draw on.
Djokovic has been in impeccable form in the tournament so far, as he is yet to drop a set, while Murray has seemed comfortable since losing a set after cramping against Dutchman Robin Haase in the first round.
The match is scheduled to be second in the night session on Ashe on Wednesday evening local time.
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